Chelsea confident over deal for key attacking target

Chelsea hope to be busy in January
Chelsea hope to be busy in January / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Chelsea are confident they have wrapped up a deal for RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku, 90min understands, with the Blues looking to bring the Frenchman in as soon as January.

As revealed back in September, Nkunku underwent a medical with Chelsea during the summer ahead of a switch to Stamford Bridge in 2023.

The 25-year-old has a £58m release clause in his contract which will become active next summer, but Chelsea have signalled a willingness to pay more than that immediately, both to ensure a deal is done soon but also to permit them to spread the fee over a number of years.

Sources close to the negotiations have told 90min that there is a confidence at Chelsea that Nkunku's signing is all but finalised, and the focus is now on working out whether he will join the club in January or in the summer.

Given their struggles this season, Chelsea are pushing for Nkunku to move to Stamford Bridge as soon as possible, but Leipzig are currently unwilling to lose the Frenchman, who has 12 goals in 15 Bundesliga games this season, midway through the campaign.

With most of the hard work now done when it comes to Nkunku, Chelsea continue to look around Europe for further reinforcements to their struggling forward line.

AC Milan's Rafael Leao is among the top targets at Stamford Bridge but the Blues are also looking for an out-and-out striker to lead the line, with Napoli's Victor Osimhen still at the top of their wish list.

However, with any deal for Osimhen likely to prove difficult and expensive, Chelsea scouts have drawn up reports on other options and have watched both Brentford's Ivan Toney and Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram, the latter of whom is out of contract in 2023.

25-year-old Thuram, son of former France defender Lilian, has ten goals in 15 games this season and was recently watched by Tottenham.